5 software buying considerations to protect from budget-busting costs

14th March 2016

Ahead of this week’s Budget and with further spending cuts proposed, property managers and estate agents will be using the opportunity to look past near-term difficulties and plan their IT and software strategies for the future.

In uncertain economic times the promise of new property software for your business is that it should create greater efficiencies in your operations, producing genuine cost savings and an attractive return on investment (ROI) within a reasonable timeframe.

Simply selecting the right property software at the right price, however, is not enough to realise these business benefits. There are costs beyond software licensing and deployment that many property managers and estate agents neglect to factor into their budgets – until it’s too late. These overlooked costs can delay and diminish your expected ROI, or worse, make the project a net loser altogether.

How do you protect yourself and your company from being blindsided by unexpected budget-busting costs?

Cover all your bases upfront. As you establish your budget and evaluate proposals from property software providers, include in your analysis, these often overlooked costs of running an efficient property management or estate agency business.

1. Training

Your new system is up and running, but it’s worthless unless employees are comfortable using it. How much training time is required to equip your employees to maximise the system? Keep in mind that the more difficult the software is to use, the more expensive it will be to get your employees up to speed on it. Therefore, factor in “ease-of-use” in your software selection. Consider also the cost of productivity loss by taking employees away from their core work to learn the new system.

2. Data Migration/ Conversion

When you purchase new property software, you have the costs of moving vast amounts of important business data, often from disparate systems across your organisation, into a new system. The data transfer may require weeks, even months, to complete, including time to scrub the data – to delete obsolete, unnecessary, and damaged data. How much will the data conversion cost? Will there be downtime associated with the data transfer and how much will that disruption cost?

3. Business Disruption

How long and when will your system be down during the property software deployment? What will that downtime cost the company in lost revenue and employee productivity? Have you planned ahead to minimise the impact – and cost – of the disruption to your operations?

4. Unexpected Customisation

Even the most robust out-of-the-box property software functionality might need to be customised to fit your business. What capabilities do you need added or tailored? Address these possibilities upfront, when you can plan for the costs and have better control over them, versus during mid-deployment.

5. Redefining Business Processes

An option to customisation is to adjust business processes to fit the new property software system. This, however, still has costs associated with it in terms of training (to acclimate employees to the new processes), productivity loss during the training period, and overall disruption to the business caused by implementing new processes.